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Full text of "Historical discourse delivered in the Congregational Church, Jewett City, Conn., April 25th, 1875"

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April 25th, 1875. 


Rev. Thomas Leffingwell Shipman. 





April 25th, 1875. 

Rev. Thomas Leffingwell Shipman 













Psalm Ixxvii., 5. 

The present owes much to the past ; and it is well to recall the 
names, and recount the deeds of our fathers. There is a growing 
disposition, and for one, I am glad to see it, to mark epochs in ec- 
clesiastical and civil history, and to commemorate them in appro- 
priate services ; especially historical discourses. I should not 
have selected for this semi-centennial occasion a text which car- 
ries our thoughts so far into the past, though fifty years ago seem 
ancient times to the youthful part of my audience, had I not pro- 
posed to precede our own ecclesiastical history with brief reminis- 
cences of the Mother Church. Filial gratitude prompts us to make 
grateful mention of the source whence we sprang. We are an off- 
shoot from the old Congregational Church of Griswold, then North 
Preston. We boast our birth. Puritan blood flows in our veins. 
Few churches in this part of the State, if we except the churches of 
Lebanon, have been more imbued with the Puritan element tlian the 
First Church of Griswold, now nearly two hundred years old ; and 
though a heterogeneous population is fast changing the character 
of our village, we still recognize in the older members of our church 
a good many features of the Puritan, not the least worthy of notice, 
backbone. I can remember when the church in North Preston was 
one of the largest in Nev»- London County, and its pastor one of the 
most influential ministers in the State. I was present at his funeral. 
1 remember just how Dr. Benedict looked, as he pronounced slow- 
ly and solemnly his text, Zech. i., 5 : "Your fathers, where are they ; 
and the prophets, do they live for ever.?" I remember the subdued 
tone in which Dr. Strong, of Norwich, my own minister, the next 

morning repeated the text of his commemorative discourse : 
Acts viii., 3 : "And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and 
made great lamentation over him." [The funeral sermon, proper, 
was preached by Dr. Benedict, Saturday afternoon. Dr. Strong 
preached Sabbath morning, and Mr. Tyler, of Preston, supplied 
the vacant pulpit in the afternoon.] At that time there was but 
one ecclesiastical society, where there are now seven. The congre- 
gation was, of course large, much larger than any which we are 
now permitted to gather, for the increase of population bears no 
proportion to the multiplication of houses of worship. 

The first pastor of this ancient church was Rev. Hezekiah 
Lord. Mr. Lord was born in Saybrook, March 19th, 1698; he 
graduated at Yale College in 17 17, was ordained November, 1720, 
died June, 1761. Dr. Benjamin Lord, of Norwich, preached at 
his ordination, and lived to preach his funeral sermon. I am not 
able to give reminiscences of his ministry, but on the principle, 
" like people like priest," he must have been a very good man. I 
have been intimately acquainted with some of his numerous de- 
scendants, and they are among the "excellent of the earth." I 
sustain to-day a very near relation, by affinity, to one of his great 
granddaughters. The inscription on his tombstone shows in what 
estimation he was held by his people : " He early devoted him- 
self to the service of God, and being blessed-with a kind, benevo- 
lent temper, added to a natural modesty of behavior was very suc- 
cessful in promoting the pure religion of his Heavenly Master, and 
having diligently and faithfully discharged his duties, died in 
peace." " Mark the perfect man, and l^ehold the upright, for the 
end of that man is peace-" 

I pass to notice the ministry of his successor, Rev. Levi Hart, 
whom a few before me remember, and of whom many before me 
have often heard. His name is pronounced by all who remember 
him, with singular reverence and affection. He was the son of 
Thomas Hart, of Southington, Conn., educated at Yale College^ 
graduated in 1760, studied theology with the celebrated Dr. Bell- 
amy, of Bethlehem. During his residence in Dr. Bellamy's family 
he became engaged to one of the Doctor's daughters, which 
resulted in their marriage soon after his settlement at North Pres- 
ton. The funeral sermon occasioned by her death, which was 
published, is a fair specimen of his style of writing, and is remark- 
able as breathing a spirit of consecration to his work in the midst 

of sorrow. It is entitled: "The Sacred Obligation of Christian 
Ministers to Improve their Personal Sorrows for the Benefit of 
their People." His wife died Dec. 24, 1787 ; in October, 1790, 
he formed a second matrimonial connection with Mrs. Backus, 
widow of Nathaniel Backus, of Norwich, — her maiden name was 
Lydia Leffingwell, sister of the great uncle whose name I have the 
honor to bear. Dr. Hart possessed rare ministerial qualifica- 
tions. With superior natural gifts, and a thorough academical and 
theological training, he could not but be an instructive preacher. 
Conversing not long since with an earnest Christian, and speaking of 
a certain sensational preacher, he observed, " he is brilliant, but he 
does not edify." If not brilliant, Dr. Hart did edify. He was 
distinguished as a Hebrew scholar. I have often heard my old 
aunt, who spent her last days in my father's family, and who never 
wearied talking of her Preston life, recalling interesting anecdotes of 
the Coits, and Tylers, and Morgans, and Lords, and Lesters, say 
that Manasseh Prentice, a very godly neighbor, when he called 
at their house used often to ask Mr. Hart to read from his He- 
brew Bible, saying " I don't understand a word, but I love to hear 
the good book in the language in which it was first written." 
When Dr. Hart died it was said that half the Hebrew of eastern 
Connecticut died with him, and when Dr. Benedict died it was 
said that the remainder followed. Dr. Hart's reputation as a 
divine drew to him students in theology, for he lived long before 
the days of Theological Seminaries. Among his pupils were Dr. 
Asa Burton, afterwards famous as the author of what is familiarly 
known as "The Taste Scheme." Dr. Charles Backus, a native of 
Franklin, and settled in Somers, was another of his pupils, a man 
of great worth ; he died young of consumption, but not till he 
had made his mark upon the age. Dr. Dwight, in the second 
volume of his "Travels in New England and New York," has paid a 
most affectionate tribute to the memory of his classmate. Another 
of his pupils was Nathaniel Howe, of Hopkinton, Mass., the man 
who in his century sermon, among other things equally plain (I 
quote verbatim et literatim) said : " I have sometimes administered 
reproof, both to the church and society, in a manner that has been 
thought to discover some degree of severity, but in these cases 
you have always had the good sense to know that you richly de- 
served it." Mr. Asahel Huntington, another native of Franklin, 
and who married a granddaughter of the Rev. Hezekiah Lord, 

pursued his theological studies in part with Dr. Hart. He com- 
menced with Dr. Charles Backus, and completed his course with 
Dr. Hart. He was settled at Topsfield, Mass., Dr. Hart preach- 
ing at his ordination. He died in the midst of his strength and 
usefulness, April 22, 1813, after an illness of four days, and he 
sleeps to-day among the people whom he served faithfully in the 
Gospel for nearly a quarter of a century, beloved in life and la- 
mented in death. I have it from the pen of one of his kinsmen 
that " he always spoke of his last theological teacher in terms of 
the highest respect and warmest gratitude." 

Dr. Hart excelled as a pastor. My mother grew up under his 
pastoral care, and she was such a woman as you would expect to 
grow up under the ministry of such a pastor. In a foot note to 
the anniversary sermon entitled, " The Importance of Fidelity in 
the Education of Children," is the statement, " Thirteen schools 
are annually maintained in the society during the winter, which 
are visited at the close of the season by the pastor, in company 
with the civil authority and selectmen, to inspect their manners 
and improvement in learning, and their knowledge in the Assem- 
bly's Catechism, and to give them instruction adapted to their age, 
and especially on the nature and im])ortance of early virtue and 
piety." He was remarkable for noticing children. He would lay 
his hands upon their heads, meantime giving them a few words of 
counsel. He seemed ever to have in mind the direction of the 
Good Shepherd : " Feed my lambs." While grave constitutionally, 
and on principle, he was yet afiable. He would recognize every 
one whom he met, and it was characteristic of him to converse 
with old and young upon things which they understood, and in 
which they were interested ; thus in a very proper manner, though 
perhaps not in the way in which Paul declared it of himself, he 
"became all things to all men." His temper was mild, and his 
address winning. At one time there lived in the south part of the 
parish a man who had suffered himself, for some reason or other, 
to feel bitter towards everything connected with religion ; he for- 
bade the schoolmaster to teach his children the catechism ; he did 
not attend public worship, and threatened if the minister ventured 
to enter his house to turn him out. Not long after visiting the 
school in his district, Mr. Hart took his horse one pleasant morn- 
ing and rode down to call upon this pugnacious spirit. He was 
out in the field, and his wife sent for him tremblingly, not knowing 

how he would meet the minister. As he came in Mr. Hart ac- 
costed him very pleasantly, and soon spoke of visiting the school 
a few days before. " Your children, Mr. Starkweather, are very 
good scholars." Mr. Starkweather excused himself for a moment. 
On opening the kitchen door his first word was : " Wife, I am go- 
ing to ask Mr. Hart to stay to dinner, and we must give him our 
best." Mr. Hart stayed and dined. On leaving he said : " Mr. 
Starkweather, take your wife and come up and make us a 
visit." From that time Mr. Starkweather became friendly and 
began to attend meeting. In a notice of Dr. Hart published soon 
after his death, among many things to his praise the writer says, 
that " his frequent calls to heal breaches in other churches ; — in 
his own he had none — his being often elected to preside in eccle- 
siastical councils; the number of young gentlemen who were by 
him trained to the ministry ; his election to the office of trustee of 
Dartmouth, and afterwards of Yale College, and of the Missionary 
Society, of which he was one of the founders, sufficiently attest in 
what estimation he was held by the public." 

I have dwelt so long on the memory of Dr. Hart that I must 
pass rapidly over the ministry of his successors. He was followed 
by Mr. Horatio Waldo, a native of Coventry, Conn., born 
March 5, 1778, and ordained at North Preston, February 14, 1810; 
his uncle, the Rev. Daniel Waldo, preaching on the occasion. 
He was dismissed in August, 1828. I remember him well. I 
spent a Sabbath with him at an early stage of my own ministry. 
He was small of stature, but you could not say that his " bodily 
presence was weak;" for no man can have a weak presence with 
such a sharp black eye. He, too, was an able preacher, and a 
faithful pastor; but his health, never strong, became so impaired 
that he was compelled to ask a dismission. He removed to Port- 
age, N. Y., where he died about thirty years since. The next 
pastor was Rev. Spoffcjrd D. Jewett, installed February, 1830; 
dismissed June, 1836. He was succeeded by Rev. William R. 
Jewett, installed in December, 1836; and dismissed in July, 
1843. These pastorates were of nearly equal length, including in 
their aggregate between twelve and thirteen years. Both of these 
brethren, now in advanced life, have since fulfilled very useful 
ministries; the one in Connecticut, the other in New Hampshire, 
and are both now without charge. Mr. Spofford D. Jewett re- 
siding at Middlefield, in this State, and Mr. William R. Jewett at 

Fisherville, N. H. I pass over any special notice of the ministry 
of Rev. Roswell Whitmore, for two years — a stated supply — 
and the pastorate of less than five years of Rev. Calvin Terry. 
But I must pause at the name of my tried friend, the Rev. Ben- 
nett F. Northrop, who labored in word and doctrine with the 
church at Pachaug for seventeen years, till declining health com- 
pelled him to sever ties which we had hoped would be dissolved 
only with death. His remains repose to-day among the people 
with whom he last lived and labored as a pastor. We laid him 
in the grave on one of the cold days of the last memorably cold 
winter. The attendance at his burial was larger than was to have 
been expected — the roads rendered almost impassable by snow- 
drifts. The sermon on the occasion, from the lips of a classmate 
and room-mate. Dr. Arms, of Norwich, was appropriate and im- 
pressive ; the text itself containing a whole sermon : " Blessed are 
the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth ; yea, saith the 
Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do 
follow them." If Mr. Northrop did not die in the harness he had 
scarcely put it oft" when a voice whispered: "Come up higher;" 
and quitting the tabernacle in which it had long " groaned, being 
burdened," his spirit returned to God ; and he who loved the 
Master's work here is now, we cannot doubt, with those who rest 
not, but serve God day and night in his temple. 

I have dwelt the longer upon these reminiscences because I 
think we are greatly indebted for "whatsoever things among us are 
true, and whatsoever things are honest, and whatsoever things 
are just, and whatsoever things are pure, and whatsoever 
things are lovely, and whatsoever things are of good re- 
port," to the mother from whose loins we sprang. Pach- 
aug is, in some respects, greatly changed since my boyhood ; 
most strikingly in the entire disappearance of one name then so 
common. The house in which my mother was born now accom- 
modates the town poor. Where Coits were to be counted by 
scores there is now not one to honor the name ; and I think of 
but three living who were born in North Preston : Deacon George 
Coit, of Norwich ; his brother William, of Brooklyn, N. Y. ; and 
Dr. Daniel T. Coit, who has lately come from Boston to reside in 
Norwich. The question will by this time suggest itself: " Why did 
the families in this village and vicinity break away from their old 
Christian home when they did, and as they did ?" Not certainly 

from any alienation of feeling, for then they would not have con- 
tinued so long to travel over a hard road, a succession of hills, 
often blocked up by snow-drifts in the winter. It cost some of 
them, I happen to know, a severe struggle to break a fellowship 
so sacred, to sever ties so tender; but they felt it their duty. A 
large woolen mill had been for some time in successful operation 
near the head of the village, and a place of worship was greatly 
needed for the accommodation of the operatives in it, some of 
whom at least would be more likely to spend the Sabbath fishing 
in summer and skating in winter than walking three miles to 
church ; and the prospect was, that on so inviting a stream other 
mills would ere long be erected. I may as well say in this place 
as in any other, that the time is coming, — I will not call it " the 
good time coming," — when "City," as appended to " Jewett," will 
not be such a misnomer as it has hitherto been. This place is 
destined to be one of the manufacturing centers of Connecticut. 
It has advantages for manufacturing unsurpassed, and the day is 
not distant when some corporation will bring out the invaluable 
privilege on the Quinebaug, and employ it in such kinds of manu- 
facturing business as they may judge for their own interest, and 
perchance for the interest of the community. In tracing our ear- 
ly ecclesiastical history, we must not fail to acknowledge the part 
acted by that eminently good man, Harlan Page. His residence 
in our village in the summer of 182 1, was brief, but every waking 
moment of it seemed to be occupied in doing good. In his diary, 
the only one that he appears ever to have kept, and which is to 
be found in his memoir, he has in one place the record, "I do 
think a faithful juinister stationed here might do incalculable 
good. It is indeed missionary ground." Again, August 2d, we 
read, " Attended a meeting to devise means for obtaining a faith- 
ful minister, to be settled and to devote his labors constantly to 
the village." Several years elapsed before the incipient movement 
thus recorded resulted in effective action. An unfinished stone 
edifice stood in the upper part of the village, erected by an Epis- 
copal Church, which had an existence from 1814 to 1818; the rec- 
tor proving unworthy, his ministry ceased and with it the project 
of establishing Episcopal worship was abandoned. From 1818 to 
1825 the house accommodated various denominations, particular- 
ly the Baptist. "On the i8th of February," I extract from the 
society records, "a meeting was called to take measures for organiz- 

ing a Congregational Society in Jewett City, to be known and called 
The Second Congregational Society of Griswold. At an ad- 
journed meeting held March 14th, the society was fully organized 
and the proper ofificers appointed." It consisted at its organiza- 
tion of forty-five members, a large proportion of whom are now 
with the dead. The place of worship vacated by the extinction 
of the Episcopal Society was purchased by several individuals 
and deeded to the Congregational Society, and remodeled and 
dedicated Sept. 3d, 1828. This house, though unattractive to the 
passing traveler, is " beautiful" to my eyes, as the home of my en- 
tire ministry among you, and associated with many sacred and 
sweet recollections. After occupying it for thirty-eight years, the 
society sold it to the Roman Catholics, who now own it, and 
crowd its walls from Sabbath to Sabbath. The church consist- 
ed, at its organization, of twenty-three members. The first notice 
of its existence reads as follows: "At the request of the serious 
people of the Second Ecclesiastical Society in Griswold, Revs. 
Messrs. Samuel Nott, Levi Nelson, and Horatio Waldo, met 
at Jewett City on the 14th day of April, 1825, to organize a Church 
in this place, if it should be thought expedient. Statements hav- 
ing been made by a Committee of the Society, and certificates pre- 
sented of the regular church membership of several persons who 
were desirous of being formed into a distinct church, with the con- 
sent of those churches to which they belonged, the organization 
was effected in due form, in connection with public services at 
their house of worship." Of the original members, twenty were by 
letter from the First Church in Griswold, two from the church in 
Newent, (Lisbon) and one from the Center Church in Hartford. 
Of the original members but four are living, Mrs. Elizabeth Barstow, 
Mrs. Mary W. Fanning, Mrs. Lucy P. Young, and Miss Sarah P. 
Phillips; one only, Mrs. Fanning, retaining her relation to this 

The first pastor, Mr. Seth Bliss, was installed June 15, 1825, 
and continued in this, his first and last pastorate, nearly seven 
5'ears. Soon after his dismission he was elected to the office of 
Corresponding Secretary of the American Tract Society, from 
which he retired several years since. He resides at present in 
Berlin, Conn. Now more than four score years, he came to this 
village young, and with a "mind to work," and finding in this new 
field work enough to do. Nor was he suffered to " labor in vain, 

and spend his strength for naught." His pastorate included 1831, 
that year so remarkable for a wide spread revival of religion, and 
this infant church shared largely in the outpouring of the Spirit. 
Twenty-four were added to the church on profession the first Sab- 
bath of July, the first fruits of the work; four in September and 
seven in November, making an aggregate of thirty-five. When 
Mr. Bliss revisits his old home, as he loves to, he meets few famil- 
iar faces, but he expresses an interest in this church which he 
feels in no other people. May he still live to pray for us, and to 
rejoice in our prosperity. 

The next pastor was Rev. George Perkins. He was a native 
of Plainfield, a graduate of Yale College, and a lawyer in early 
public life. Soon after changing his profession he was settled for 
a few years at Ashburnham, Mass. He was installed as pastor of 
this church in August, 1832, and dismissed in September, 1838. 
I need not descant upon his ministry. Some of you remember in 
what manner he went in and out before you, serving you with all 
humility of mind, seeking not yours but you. He was never made 
to be a popular speaker, but he preached seven days in the week 
eloquently, by the power of a holy life. I met him at Norwich 
not long before his death. I said to him as we met : " You seem 
to walk lame!" He replied, "I have had a slight paralytic shock." 
"An uncle of mine," said I, " called it death knocking at the door," 
and he added, writing to a friend : " He does not generally knock 
many times." "I so regard it." "It does not trouble you.?" 
"Oh no. I long to begone. That last blow crushed me;" re- 
ferring to the death of his son, who was instantly killed while em- 
ployed in capturing a whale, by a stroke from the fluke of the 

Mr. Perkins was succeeded by Mr. William Wright. Mr. 
Wright came fresh from the Theological Seminary in New Haven, 
and after laboring less than three years, asked for a dismission, 
giving as his reason, inadequate support. He retired in the midst 
of a revival which added some twenty names to our small church. 
After leaving here he was employed for some time at Plainville ; 
his last engagement was for ten years at South Windsor. He now 
resides near Middletown, farming, and I believe occasionally 
preaching. My own ministry commenced on the Sabbath follow- 
ing Mr. Wright's dismission, the second Sabbath of May, 1842, 
and was protracted, either as stated supply or pastor, to the close 


of May, 1856 ; fourteen years. I need not speak of my ministry, if 
it were becoming me to speak of it, for it is fresh in your recollec- 
tion. Suffice to say, that whatever was good in it you appreci- 
ated beyond its value ; and over its faults, many and great, you 
threw the mantle of charity. On the 29th of May, 1856, Rev. 
Henry T. CHEEVERwas installed; the late Prof. Shepard, of Ban- 
gor, preaching on the occasion. Mr. Cheever was a native of 
Hallowell, Maine, and a graduate of Bowdoin College in that 
State. His ministry was fulfilled among us in stirring times, and 
his soul was stirred to its depths during all the time he was with 
us. The outrages in Kansas, and the execution of John Brown, 
whom he often styled in prayer and preaching "the martyr hero," 
called forth from his lips words of burning indignation, and from 
his pen denunciations couched in language having any element 
but tameness. Whatever may be thought of his modes of deal- 
ing with that "sum of villainies," American slavery, all will ac- 
cord him the praise of sincerity ; and his gospel sermons, as dis- 
tinguished from discourses on the times, all will agree were among 
the best that it was ever their privilege to listen to. During his 
ministry twenty-seven were added to the church on profession, the 
most of them the fruits of a precious revival in 1858. From the 
time of Mr. Cheever's dismission to the commencement of our 
present pastor's labors among us the pulpit was supplied by various 
persons, for periods longer or shorter, principally by Mr. Boss, 
Mr. Laird and myself. Mr. Boss is novv settled at Putnam. Mr. 
Laird closed a brief but very faithful ministry at Hollis, N. H., 
dying with consumption August 20, 1874, aged 46 years. " Prec- 
ious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." Our 
present pastor commenced his labors with us as a temporary supply 
in the autumn of 1865, and was installed, in response to a unani- 
mous call, May 3, 1866; Dr. Field, of New London, preaching on 
the occasion. He has now been with us nearly nine years as a 
pastor, during which he has labored diligently and faithfully. I 
shall not say what I certainly should were he at this moment ab- 
sent, recreating in Colorado or California, but this much I may 
record to the praise of divine grace, that the church has been 
strengthened in numbers, and I trust in graces ; also, under his 
pastoral care two revivals have been enjoyed, the first adding more 
than twenty, and the last more than forty to the church on pro- 
fession. I have been often absent on the Sabbath, preaching to 


vacant congregations in the vicinity, but when here I can witness 
how affectionately and earnestly he has presented plain, practical 
truth ; never handling the Word of God deceitfully, but by mani- 
festation of the truth commending himself to every man's con- 
science in the sight of God ; and there is no brother within the 
circle of my ministerial acquaintance who has a fairer prospect of 
meeting at last the greeting : " Well done good and faithful ser- 
vant ; because thou hast been faithful over a few things I will 
make thee ruler over many things ; enter thou into the joy of 
thy Lord." 

The present state of our church and society is prosperous. In- 
stead of forty-seven, the aggregate membership of the church at 
the commencement of my ministry, we have now a membership of 
one hundred and forty-five ; instead of great pecuniary weakness as 
a society, dependent upon missionary aid for our very existence, we 
have now a fund of $8,000, placing the support of the gospel upon 
a fair financial basis ; in place of the small house of worship with its 
cramped pulpit, its narrow aisles, its heavy galleries and its most un- 
comfortable seats, we have this spacious and comfortable edifice, 
with every convenience for our evening services — the small vestry, I 
was going to say parlor, for I always associate with it a pleasant 
parlor, for week day evenings and the larger one for Sabbath even- 
ings — and what claims special mention, the incubus of debt, a 
nightmare for four years, lifted off, so that we stand to-day erect 
and breathe freely.* To-day we are not only free from debt but 
possess an estate, including the fund with this house and appur- 
tenances, valued at $25,000. Looking back from our present 
standpoint upon the way in which we have been led, we set up 
to-day our Ebenezer and inscribe upon it : " Hitherto hath the 
Lord helped us." If the Secretary of the Home Missionary So- 
ciety of Connecticut were with us this afternoon, I should ex- 
pect he would commence his five minute speech with " Breth- 
ren, you have a good record." f 

*Our present house of worship was commenced in the spring of 1867, and 

dedicated Dec. 11th, of the same year. The pastor, the Rev. J. W. Tuck, 
preached on the occasion from Zech. iv., 7 : " And he shall bring forth the head- 
stone thereof with shoutings, crying grace, grace unto it.'^ 

f The afternoon was devoted to short addresses by the pastor of the church, 
Deacon Henry L. Johnson, Deacon John R. Tracy, Deacon Richard S. Lathrop, 
of Danielsonville, formerly a member of this church, Thomas A. Clark, Welcome 

In conclusion, let me remind 3'ou that our church is the foster 
child of the Domestic Missionary Society of Connecticut, From 
the time of its organization to the hour when the last dollar of the 
fund was subscribed, the Domestic Missionary Society made an 
annual appropriation of from $75 to $100, amounting in the ag- 
gregate to about $2 7,000. y We have already returned into their 
treasury about $i7,ooo,<and we propose a "jubilee offering" this 
morning, as a token of our gratitude for their kindness in our day of 
need. The plan of a Domestic Missionary Society originated in 
our own County. At the time of Dr. McEwen's ordination in 
New London, in 1806, "eleven large contiguous parishes, stretching 
from Sterling to the seaboard on the line of Rhode Island, thence 
to the western boundary of East Lyme, thence northward to the 
southern line of Colchester, were destitute of Congregational min- 
isters." One evening, in 1815, at the old parsonage, having Mr. 
Hart, of Stonington Point for his guest, the two brethren talked 
the matter over, and as the upshot of the conversation, they brought 
the subject a few weeks after before the District Association — 
contemplating at that time only a County Missionary Society. 
The result of the deliberations in the District Association was a 
" Home Missionary Society to repair the waste places of Connecti- 
cut and its vicinity." The project was brought before the Gen- 
eral Association, at their next meeting in Farmington. The influ- 
ence of Dr. Dvvight's name, and advocacy of the plan, before the 
body was secured, and in course of the ensuing year a society was 
organized known for many years as the " Domestic Missionary 
Society of Connecticut," now better known as the " Home Mis- 
sionary Society of Connecticut, Auxiliary to the American Home 
Missionary Society." The result of the consultation in the old 
parsonage at New London is to be seen to-day in changing a 
scene of moral desolation into a " field which the Lord hath bless- 
ed ;" — in parts, "a watered garden ;" and all over the State decayed 
and dying churches have been resuscitated, and are now, many of 
them, among the most efficient in our commonwealth, not indeed 
powerful in numbers, but in the strength which piety gives any 
church. The members of these retired and rural parishes — for not 

A. Browning, James Johnson, and H. L. Reade. The older brethren recalled 
very interesting scenes in the early history of the church and society, and the 
younger spoke with satisfaction of recent events, showing that the children 
are "beloved for the father's sakes." 


a few of them are rural parishes — may be less known to the great 
world than their metropolitan brethren, but God knows them ; and 
in these churches are found men and women who have power with 
God, and who call down blessings, not only upon themselves and 
their neighbors, but upon "a world that lieth in wickedness.". 
When this church shall celebrate its centennial in 1925, our coun- 
try will no doubt embrace a population of more than one hundred 
millions. What the character of that population shall be, we 
tremble to ask. Shall it be educated, virtuous and happy ; pros- 
perous in the life that now is, and meet for that which is to come, 
or shall it be ignorant, degraded, and besotted, groping its way in 
the darkness of sin down to the shades of death ? That question 
depends, under God, upon home evangelization. If the work of 
Home Missions is prosecuted with a zeal commensurate with its 
importance we have nothing to fear, but every thing to hope for 
from the disclosures of the future; but if the churches grow 
"weary in well doing," and home evangelization fails to keep pace 
with the progress of population, it requires no prophet's vision to 
read the doom of the land which we love to know by that charmed 
name, Our Country. The God of our fathers, our God, our 
children's God, bless our native land, "hallowed by so many 
prayers, rich with the garnered dust of saints, glorious with the 
triumphs of grace." We are able to preach the Gospel in the 
length and breadth of our land, thus making it " the glory of all 
lands." We need not fear impoverishing ourselves. " There is 
that scattereth and yet increaseth." " He that watereth shall be 
watered himself" The interests of one part of our country are 
the true interests of every other, and let us live and labor for our 
country, our whole country, our motto : " Our Country for the 
SAKE of the world;" and to borrow the conclusion of one of the 
Reports of the American Home Missionary Society : " Our coun- 
try will be saved, and the nations of the earth will rise in the 
light of it to glory and to God." 


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